I recently started a FAQ series focused on the basics of Google Analytics. In my previous FAQ post, I briefly explained what Google Analytics is and told you about the layout you’ll see when you log into the application. Today I’m discussing the Visitors/Audience section of Google Analytics.
Q: How do I use Google Analytics? – Visitors/Audience
The Visitors overview is the default screen you’ll see when you view the report for any of your sites. This screen gives you the number of visitors, unique visitors, and page views (along with the average pages/visit). It also shows you the average time spent on your site, the bounce rate and the percentage of new visits (a pie chart comparing new to returning visitors is also shown). This gives you a good, high-level overview of how your site is doing. High pages/visit, high average time on your site, and a low bounce rate give you an idea of how useful visitors are finding your site once they arrive.
You’ll also see that there are some basic demographics, system and mobile reports at the bottom of the overview screen. You can view more detailed reports on demographics by clicking on it in the left navigation. There you can view detailed information about your visitors’ locations (including a map overlay) or language, as well as set up user-defined and custom variables for more exact reporting. On the map, if you click on any country you’ll get a larger map of that country, with more detailed information about where your visitors are coming from.
The next sub-report in the visitors section is behavior. This section gives you more information about new vs. returning visitors, how frequently and recently visitors are returning to your site, and user engagement. Looking at how many visitors you have returning frequently gives you an idea of how many true fans you have. Users who have visited your site a dozen or more times are most likely fans of your site or company. These are the users you can more or less count on when asking for help in promoting a new product or otherwise getting the word out. You can also view the “days since last visit” report, which gives you an idea of how often your return visitors are coming back to your site.
The engagement report shows you two key metrics: the visit duration and the page depth (how many pages a visitor viewed). Visitors who stay on your site longer and view more pages are more engaged. You want a high number of visitors viewing more than one page, and staying on your site more than a few seconds. If that’s not happening, these reports will tell you so.
The last two reports in the visitors section are for technology and mobile statistics. For the most part, these aren’t very helpful from a marketing standpoint. But, it is a good idea to monitor them and make sure that your site appears correctly in the more common combinations. It’s also vital to review these when you’re getting ready to redesign your site. If you still have a significant percentage of visitors coming to your site using older technology, you’re going to have to make sure your new site still appears correctly for them. Pay attention to trends, too. For example, if you see that a particular mobile platform is increasing by double-digits each month, you’ll want to make sure your site supports that platform, even if it still represents a small percentage of overall visits.
Next Up: Traffic Sources
Want to learn more about how Checkerboard Strategic Web Development can utilize Google Analytics to monitor your website traffic? Call us at (612) 283-4846!